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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys,

Okuma had a number of notable introductions this ICAST 2016 and none more interesting for the future than the Makaira reel which will be their new top spinning reel. Typically Okuma uses their "Makaira" moniker to denote a flag ship product like their Makaira 2-speed conventional reels which have gained broad acceptance in the offshore segment. We'll see that Okuma is upping the ante in the "Super Spinner" arena with a reel that comes in at a competitive price and one that should carry the Makaira brand forward.

This, of course, is a PREVIEW and only an early indication of what Okuma's intentions are in this category for those interested in this type of reel. The Makaira is a very large (20 and 30K sized) offshore reel ie not a commonly used size for fishing 30# braid in the surf
. The reel they sent to me is a prototype that is not yet final and there will also be some changes before Okuma ships the first reels later this year which we will discuss later in the post.

To be clear, Okuma will not be offering the standard 10k or 6k reels in this first introduction of the Makaira, we'll have to wait and see if that becomes part of the future of the line. As well, keep in mind that I just received the reel and only hope to share some reel pr0n with other reel nerds. I have not even received the 100# braid that I will be spooling it with yet
! But these posts take time and I chose to get some info out to those interested who have been waiting patiently.

Meet the Makaira here shown next to a new Metalloid 65 (~10k sized reel) for comparison:





When I put "beast mode" in the title of this post I wasn't kidding, this Makaira prototype weighs in at 32.7 oz un-spooled but that is totally in line with offerings from Daiwa, Shimano and Penn in this "Super Spinner" category:



Some more photos of cosmetic details:



















More to come
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Before moving on some notes about the Frame and Side Plates:









These are "Cold Forged" 6061 Aluminum parts, then machined. As we have talked about before a huge press creates the part from a billet of aluminum pressing it into a mold which hardens the Aluminum at the same time. This is a very expensive process to tool for, but does create parts that are very strong and have a beautiful feel in the hand. The parts feel very "Trinidad" like (if Okuma will forgive the reference) with rounded contours. Perhaps not as refined ergonomically as a Stella or Saltiga but still very comfortable.

The pick ups above and image below show to one of the many seals (23) the reels has as well as showing the seal of the side cover. There are at least 5 of these heavy oil seals that I found in the reel similar to what we see in a Van Staal for the highest level of saltwater resistance:





The Torx screws (#10) for the cover have a nylon washer to reduce corrosion (above). Below, a look at the gear box with some of the grease removed. All 17-4 grade Stainless Steel for the most part. The Crosswind block is probably machined Aluminum:



Above also shows a detail of the back up Anti-reverse with an Abu style eared dog and stainless ratchet mounted on the drive gear.

With the Drive Gear and Main Shaft removed to see the oscillation mechanism. The Oscillation slider is mounted on two guide rods for strength and quiet operation:



More to come
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Under the Rotor is a dedicated housing for the Rotor Nut that screws off with a no-mar set of pliers:





The Rotor Nut itself houses a bearing for a true "floating shaft":







Under the rotor a black housing covers the pinion assembly and clutch. Shown also is the ring seal that functions as the Rotor brake. There is no auto-trip on the Makaira:





This black housing as an Oil Seal at the top that the rotor seats in:



With additional seals below to prevent water intrusion:



Some serious stainless hardware:



A note about the gear: Okuma says it is forged 304 Stainless Steel. This means that a stainless billet is pressed into a mold to form the gear ("cold forging"). This hardens the SS in the process and should produce a very durable gear and strong drive train:





This reel does have a tiny bit of intermittent "buzz" from the gears and Okuma has said they expect them to be smoother in production. Stainless to stainless gearing very commonly has a little noise or felt vibration and perfectly noise free and smooth gearing would be a significant manufacturing achievement using such strong and hard materials. These are not Shimano style "butter" gears.

With the pinion lifted out there is a heavy plastic housing (black) for the top pinion bearing, but I wasn't sure how to remove it to get out the Clutch for closer inspection. This view shows the long needles of the clutch but we'll have to wait for Okuma to help me so we can get a closer look:





More to come :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK, one of the more interesting things about the new Makaira is the powerful drag (~65# max per Okuma) that has some significant design and tech in it's construction. But I haven't been able to test it yet waiting for the 100# braid I will spool it with (and yes, that is what you need to test 65#'s !
).

The drag Knob has two controls on top, a preset knob (small) and a Cam Lever (normal appearing drag knob):



The first knob is used to preset the drag for a "range" like the preset knob on a lever drag reel. The second then acts on a cam to give you your complete range from zero on up (0-20) with only one turn of the knob.



The idea is that once you find a preset you like you can then neglect the smaller knob and just use the larger. With experience and testing you can know precisely how many pounds of drag "10" is and how fast it ramps up each click and it's corresponding number. The most commonly used setting will still have zero - zero pounds of drag at "0", but the top setting of "20" seems to be something close to 15-20lbs in hand testing (guessing really). So for most people it will be a set once and forget sort of thing for most of their fishing and they will only adjust the larger lever.



The spool itself mounts on a powerful spindle:



That seats in another Oil Seal at the base of the spool:



The drag plate itself is held and retained by this removable skirt at the base of the spool:





Showing us a large under spool carbon fiber drag washer with bearing support:



Under the knob on top is another bearing:



This one comes in a housing that allows the drag to be compressed by the knob, but not to use the bearing as a "drag washer":





And then the rest of the top stack of the "Dual Force Drag":



More to come
 

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Thanks John. As always very thorough and interesting. Looks like a battleship of a reel. One thing jumped out at me was the spool locking nut and drag preset knob. Very very reminiscent of Accurate Twin Spin set up, albeit with a more mechanically involved drag and spool. Not sure if more involved is better on a spinner's spool. My brain, when "involved" with larger than ordinary fish subscribes much better to the KISS principle. Less for me to screw up!
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
With all the seals in the reel how free spinning is it?
I have to say its pretty tight, like VS when new tight. But, we have to keep in mind some things:

1. Okuma has a 5 year warranty on those seals. They do break in and wear and the reel will loosen in time. If the seals were loose now, they'd be leaking in a year.

2. This is also a prototype that may not be necessarily representative of the production reel.

3. But, this is a beast-mode reel, not one that you are going to idly sling top waters all day to trout and reds but use when you want the strongest possible reel to use over truly big fish and need hundreds and hundreds of yards of 100# braid. :)

In the final analysis, everyone has to decide for themselves. If the reel was more of an all day casual fishing sort of size and type (ie 10-14K and 30#'s of max drag) then it would be too tight for me. For casting over HUGE fish, it is not going to make much of a difference when you ultimately need a beast of a reel capable of being fished with a harness and 40# of drag (and a real 65# drag max) and a 20-30k size. Then it is less about the easy fishing of a reel and more about performance and strength when bit heavy.

 

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Thanks John. So from what I hear you saying this isn't the reel I'd want to be using for jigging for any length of time? Might be okay for popping. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big okuma fan, but with the tightness of this reel it sounds like it may not be ideal for the jigging crowd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks John. So from what I hear you saying this isn't the reel I'd want to be using for jigging for any length of time? Might be okay for popping. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big okuma fan, but with the tightness of this reel it sounds like it may not be ideal for the jigging crowd.
Yes and no. :)

I agree 100% that jigging is the most energy intensive of them all and this reel is going to increase effort as is...BUT, like other reels eventually I just remove the rotor seal and that typically frees them up enormously. Then, simple grease and regular maintenance is more than sufficient to keep the reel in great shape for a knowledgeable user. I'll have to make that decision based on how a production reel feels though...

The free-est spinning reels all come with caveats....Daiwa Saltiga is gonna have mag seal issues of maintenance and cost....Shimano is going to have perhaps the best of all worlds jigging...PG and light sealing....but at great cost $$$ and poor parts going forward.

This reel will list at $799 and probably be found for much less as these things go...so the competition is going to be Daiwa Isla and possibly the new Penn Tor 2....I can't get behind mag seal (yet, until the fluid is readily available to anyone) and the Penn looks really good....but if I really needed a Beast Mode spinner the Okuma Makaira might be the best value out there among the true top tier of reels.

After that it is a long drop off from the top tier to Saragosas and Cabos and possibly the new Penn Slammer III in reality on the biggest fish.
 

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I like my 2015 saltigas for jigging and find maintenance on them not bad at all. Just don't have access to the mag fluid. I have done this with my penn torques and have them dialed in. Haven't been able to get Tony to tell me the difference between the new and old torques yet, if any of the internals have changed.
 

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Alan says this in his ICast report:

"It doesn't take much guessing to tell that they are going after Stella SW and Saltiga/Dogfight/Expedition with these. Firstly the Okumas are noticeably heavier than their Shimano counterparts, and these Shimanos are already heavier than their Daiwa counterparts. Weight is not their most distinctive feature though; the Makairas are tight to spin, and I'm not talking Penn Torque tight or even old Saltiga Z tight, rather talking end-of-spectrum Van Staal surf models tight. They are not smooth either and the precipitable gear noise is similar to that of an Accurate TwinSpin. They also have a dual drag knob similar to that of the TwinSpin with a slight tweak for what they describe as a pre-set drag system, and without going into details that should only be discussed after real life testing I'll only say that this pre-set thing is not going be popular."
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Alan says this in his ICast report:

"It doesn't take much guessing to tell that they are going after Stella SW and Saltiga/Dogfight/Expedition with these. Firstly the Okumas are noticeably heavier than their Shimano counterparts, and these Shimanos are already heavier than their Daiwa counterparts. Weight is not their most distinctive feature though; the Makairas are tight to spin, and I'm not talking Penn Torque tight or even old Saltiga Z tight, rather talking end-of-spectrum Van Staal surf models tight. They are not smooth either and the precipitable gear noise is similar to that of an Accurate TwinSpin. They also have a dual drag knob similar to that of the TwinSpin with a slight tweak for what they describe as a pre-set drag system, and without going into details that should only be discussed after real life testing I'll only say that this pre-set thing is not going be popular."
At 32.7 oz vs 31.2 oz for a Stella 20K the Makaira is definitely heavier. But I would be hard pressed to say this is "noticeably heavier" when it is a 5% difference unless someone has super-human perceptive abilities. The issue to be figured out is what something that lists for almost 1/2 less than a Stella or Daiwa of the same size is giving you for that extra weight. Pretty sure its going to be additional toughness of frame and gears but we'll have to wait and see.

The Prototype does have some gear noise, and Stainless to Stainless will never be as smooth as Brass to Aluminum. But it should be much stronger and the production reels are expected to be smoother. This is a story that will take real time to tell.

The tightness is an issue for sure, because the reel does have a truly submersible level of sealing. It remains to be seen if that is true of production reels and if the sealing can be de-tuned for individual taste. As well, this remains an issue over the life of the reel...it is unclear how durable lighter sealing really is on other reels.

As far as the drag goes, I am not convinced it is remotely as much of a concern as Alan makes it out to be, it depends on the range you get from one preset. If the reel goes from 0 to 30#'s of drag on one preset it almost as if it doesn't exist and provides instant and fine-tune-able changes as compared to other designs. I think if you really wanted to know if you were fishing 20# vs 25# then this is potentially a great system to have that kind of control. I just have to get some 100# braid to test it :).

But, keep in mind, these are my opinions from playing with the reel for a few weeks now. It will be a year or more before enough reels are out there to really know what we have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wonder.... where did you bought the reel if has not hit any tackle store shelve yet ? Did Okuma offered the reel to you ?
Of course I asked Okuma to send a reel out for a preview and for my testing? That should be obvious? They don't grow on trees and are not for sale yet. Just like Penn, Abu Garcia and Daiwa do when I ask about a reel I am interested in.

That's why this is a preview and not a review. A review of a complicated product like this that actually produces reliable and useful information takes years and hundreds of reels used (that should also be obvious). A preview is early information for the curious, take it or leave it.
 

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Of course I asked Okuma to send a reel out for a preview and for my testing? That should be obvious? They don't grow on trees and are not for sale yet. Just like Penn, Abu Garcia and Daiwa do when I ask about a reel I am interested in.

That's why this is a preview and not a review. A review of a complicated product like this that actually produces reliable and useful information takes years and hundreds of reels used (that should also be obvious). A preview is early information for the curious, take it or leave it.
Nice attitude you've got there buddy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
John , no need to get defensive here Amigo.
It was a legitimate question. How would we know that Okuma was so kind to give you a spanking brand new reel that is not even on the shelves for a " preview ".

That tree as you mention is very generous .......
Because I do service tutorials as a hobby for Abu Garcia, Daiwa, Penn, Okuma and Shimano reels that now total hundreds of thousands of views. I also have over 3000 posts here but don't visit as much as I used to after all the drama this site has been known for...Others here know me from way back...:)

I have been also doing previews of Penn and Abu and Okuma reels for the last couple of years? I haven't been around here because it has been pretty dead. But I was one of the nearly originals here and thought some might be interested in this new big game spinner?

I am sorry that you perceive it as defensive, I can't help my matter of fact tone. I guess it seems obvious to me because I first posted on this site nearly 10 years ago? :)

There is only one way to get a reel to open yourself before it comes to market, and that comes directly from the maker.
 
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